When women become pregnant, they begin to crave certain foods. Sometimes they get up in the middle of the night and ask for ice cream. Other times they will want to eat chocolate. They can satisfy their sweet tooth by eating dates, which are healthy and have benefits. For the 2011 study published in the US National Library of Medicine, 154 women participated. While 77 of them ate dates late in their pregnancy, the other 77 did not. It was found that women who ate dates required significantly less medical intervention to induce labor than those who did not take the sweet fruit. Read on to discover the benefits of eating dates during pregnancy.
Benefits of eating dates during pregnancy
Dates are high in sugar, but they also contain many micronutrients like potassium, manganese, magnesium and copper, says Dr Chetna Jain, director of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, sector 14, Gurugram. They are also very rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid, making them healthy.
Here are some of the benefits:
1. Dates Can Provide Instant Energy
Pregnant women tend to get tired and feel weak. Indeed, during pregnancy, the load on the cardiovascular system and kidneys increases by 40 percent, explains the expert. Weight gain and change in gravity as well as pressure on the lumbar spine lead to fatigue. So, eating dates can help give energy.
2. Dates May Help Relieve Constipation
The high fiber content of dates can help relieve constipation, which happens to many women during pregnancy. During pregnancy, physical activity is reduced. The level of progesterone, which regulates periods and promotes pregnancy, is very high. Nausea leads to a reduction in food and water intake. All of this contributes to constipation, so consuming dates can be a good thing.
3. Dates can prevent anemia
Rich in iron, dates can prevent or correct iron deficiency anemia. During pregnancy, blood volume increases more than that of red blood cells. Iron absorption is poor, which leads to anemia.
4. Dates May Improve Bone Health
Micronutrients such as selenium, magnesium and manganese found in dates can help improve bone health by reducing the risk of osteoporosis, which many women complain of.
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5. Dates can reduce hair loss
Some women experience hair loss during pregnancy. Due to their high iron content and their property of increasing blood flow to the scalp and hair, dates can be beneficial for your hair.
Dr. Jain says dates can also stimulate labor, so pregnant women can start taking dates in the ninth month or after 36 weeks, which is about four weeks before their due date.
Excessive consumption of dates has side effects
Dates are known to support normal labor and delivery, but anything in excess is bad. Here’s what can happen:
• Eating too many dates can lead to weight gain due to their high calorie content. Each date contains 23 calories, or about 280 calories per hundred grams of dates.
• It may increase blood sugar and worsen blood sugar control in women with type 2 diabetes.
• Excessive consumption of dates can lead to bloating and constipation due to bacterial growth in the intestine.
• Dates can cause tooth decay if teeth are not cleaned after consuming them.
• The high potassium content in dates can harm women as they may suffer from kidney disease.
Consuming dates is healthy, but eat them in small quantities if you want to enjoy its health benefits.